Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for November 2020 is the church of St Andrew, Skegby, 5 km west of Mansfield.

Before 1860 Skegby church was a chapel of ease of Mansfield St Peter. Since then it has been a parish church in its own right.

The church consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and unbuttressed west tower of two stages.

In 1867 Sir Stephen Glynne described it as ‘An irregular little church, in bad condition – consisting of nave with S. aisle – Chancel – South porch and West Tower.’

The nave clerestories, north aisle (including the arcade), south aisle, south porch, organ-chamber and vestry date from what Cox (1912) describes as the ‘too vigorous restoration and enlargement’ of 1870 that ‘destroyed much of old fabric.’ The small Norman chancel arch ‘somewhat rudely indented’ was replaced by an ‘imitation Norman successor.’ The architects were Sissons and Richardson of Derby.

Throughout its recent history the church has suffered badly from subsidence caused by coal mining. By the late 19th century it was in an almost ruinous state and girders were used to repair the tower, the chancel arch was supported by timber balks and an iron band put round one column. The floor was uneven with cracks in the walls. The tower and north aisle were restored in 1906 and in 1984 the chancel was entirely demolished and rebuilt due to subsidence.

The 14th century three-bay south arcade has octagonal piers and responds with moulded capitals, that to east with ball decorations.

Two 14th century stone effigies are stood upright on either side of the tower doorway. It is likely they were originally part of the same monument. The man is dressed as a forest official; the woman has a wimpled head-dress and on each side of the head are angels as supporters.

The walls contain fragments of medieval cross slabs bearing emblems such as a chalice, sword and shears.

The east window is by C E Kempe and was installed in 1893 in memory of the Rev Frederick Taverner, the first vicar when the parish of Skegby was formed in 1860. The window was later damaged by subsidence and was badly restored in 1965.

There is a medieval piscina in the south aisle and a stone pulpit. The altar and reredos date from 1947.